It is the annual fundraising event for the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Police Activity League Martial Arts Program, which takes place each year on Oyster Fest Saturday. However, this year, due to other festival-related activities, the OB-EN PAL Program had to find an alternate site for this event. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of Chief Frank Ozol and the members of the Atlantic Steamer Fire Company, the students were able to kick the morning away in the meeting room of the firehouse. Chief Ozol said, "Several of our members have children who have been or who are in this (the martial arts) program, and we were all happy to help in any way we could." Sifu Andrew Hall, Instructor of the OB-EN program stated, "The Atlantic Steamers always seem to be doing something to help the community through fundraising events and their everyday dedication as volunteers. We really appreciate the support of the officers and membership."
The Kick-A-Thon is coordinated by the Project Action Foundation, a nationally known organization dedicated to keeping young people involved in community programs, off the streets and out of gangs. The funds raised are returned to the OB-EN PAL Martial Arts program to provide financial assistance for students who may require such help to continue in this worthwhile activity.
As members of the ASFC were working in the kitchen preparing food for neighboring fire companies that participated in stand-by assistance during the Oyster Fest weekend, 32 of Oyster Bay's finest young martial artists were kicking to raise scholarship funds for community program students. After one hour, the participants achieved a total of 67,936 kicks and raised $3,766. The OB-EN students were joined by 10 students from the Westbury PAL Martial Arts program as well, led by their instructor Shihan John Grima.
National Martial Arts Day (NMAD) is recognized by political leaders across the country. Proclamations are issued to each participating Martial Arts program by state governors, giving NMAD official recognition. Joe Girardi, candidate for Nassau County Legislator, took time out of his busy schedule to present the proclamation to the OBEN-PAL program members on behalf of Governor Pataki. As part of his campaign, Mr. Girardi addresses gang-related problems as a special area of concern in Nassau County communities.
Thanks to Gooseberry Grove and Island Martial Arts Supply for donating prizes to participants who raised the most money and for students with the highest number of kicks, and to Dunkin' Donuts of Oyster Bay for donating refreshments for Kick-A-Thon participants. Special thanks to the Target store in Hicksville for its generous contribution of $1,000. Congratulations to all of the participants for their hard work and dedication to this very worthwhile fundraising program.